Two smiling faces at Frias Properties of Aspen got quite a surprise on Tuesday, July 20, when they were named the monthly winners of the "Stars of the Month" award from the Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA). Unsuspecting front desk manager Alleyn (Lynn) Armstrong and front desk agent Samara Decker were pleasantly surprised when a group of staff assembled at the front with Dorothy Frommer, ACRA's director of guest services, to make the announcement. The award is part of the chamber's "Faces of Aspen/Snowmass" program and is awarded monthly during the summer and winter months to deserving local employees.
But, Frommer said, the award represents more than just one employee's hard work.
"When we honor an employee, we honor the business they work for," Frommer said. Frias Properties, 730 E. Durant Ave., is the largest rental and real estate property management company in Aspen, with roots in the valley since the early 1970s. It is operated by long-time locals and co-owners Chuck Frias and Tim Clark, along with a dedicated staff. Clark said having a great front desk team is critical to the success of Frias Properties.
"The essence of sustainable business is customer service," Clark said. "It is the sincere interest in another's well being and a smile that will keep customers referring and returning to your business. We see that the 'Golden Rule' certainly applies to great customer service which adds value and sustainability to any organization."
According to an ACRA, the five basics of outstanding guest service are immediate recognition of the guest; a warm, friendly greeting; listening closely and responding to a guest's needs appropriately; thorough knowledge of your company's product; and consistent follow through. Armstrong said those are the philosophies incorporated at the Frias front desk.
"Excellence in service is job one," Armstrong said, "for every guest, every customer and every employee."
Decker said the main challenge is to handle guest and owner requests as soon as something comes up.
"The goal is to direct all requests to the proper personnel and then follow up on those requests,"Decker said. "We want to make any unhappy guest or owner satisfied in the shortest amount of time possible. The biggest reward is making people happy."
Both agree that, ultimately, it's all about the "Aspen experience."
"We make every attempt to answer all our guests' questions to make sure they have the best time possible while they're in Aspen," Decker said. "We want to make sure our owners and guests have all the materials they need to make their vacation to Aspen the best it can be."
"We want to make everyone feel as if nothing compares to Aspen," Armstrong said. "We have the best mountains, the best properties and the best service."
As part of the honor, Armstrong and Decker will each receive an engraved plaque and a check from ACRA. Armstrong has been with the company for 3 1/2 years. She previously lived in the Kansas City area and worked for the American Red Cross. Front desk agent Samara Decker has been with Frias for 18 months and previously worked in the valley for more than 5 years.